Arsenal loan Simpson to West Brom

West Bromwich Albion, the bottom club in the Premier League have signed striker Jay Simpson on loan from top-flight rivals Arsenal for the rest of the season, it was announced on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old scored twice for a coltish Arsenal team in their 3-0 League Cup win over Wigan in November and Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is letting him leave the Emirates Stadium to gain first-team experience.

Last season Simpson was loaned to League One side Millwall and this latest deal means he could now play for West Brom in their FA Cup third round tie against Peterborough on Saturday.

Wed 31 December, 2008
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FA confirm Droyslden´s Cup expulsion

Non-league Droylsden failed Wednesday with an appeal against their expulsion from the FA Cup after being found guilty of fielding an ineligible player during their bizarre tie with Chesterfield.

As a result fourth-tier Chesterfield will be away to Ipswich Town, who play in the Championship, the division below the elite Premier League, in the third round on Saturday.

Last week, Droylsden thought they had won their second-round tie against League Two Chesterfield, two divisions above them, at the fourth time of asking after fog, a controversial goal and floodlight failure had foiled three previous attempts to separate the sides.

But it turned out that defender Sean Newton, who scored both their goals in a 2-1 win, was ineligible after collecting his fifth booking of the season on December 9.

According to Football Association (FA) regulations, that meant he was suspended for one match, a ban which should have ruled him out of last Tuesday's fixture.

Droylsden were thrown out by an FA Cup protest sub-committee on Monday, a decision upheld by Wednesday's appeal hearing.

A statement issued by the English governing body Wednesday said: “The FA can confirm that today's appeal by Droylsden FC against their removal from this season's FA Cup was unsuccessful.”

Chesterfield manager Lee Richardson admitted a “lifeline” had been thrown to his side.

“We were devastated to be out of the FA Cup but now we can take this as a bonus and can go there and enjoy the day,” he said.

“We have got to see it is a lifeline.

“The tie has been something of a saga but the FA have had the final word and the rules are clear-cut – you cannot field an ineligible player.

“Their man should have been suspended. If he had not played and scored those goals, the result could have been completely different. If the rules were not followed, the game would be in chaos.”

An unusual climax was in keeping with the rest of an extraordinary tie.

The original encounter was abandoned at half-time for fog with Droylsden leading 1-0.

But that was as nothing compared to the events 12 minutes from time in the second encounter at Chesterfield's Saltergate ground.

That game was all square at 1-1 in the 78th minute when Manchester-based Droylsden put the ball into touch deliberately following an injury to Chesterfield's Carl Lamb.

But, after Lamb recovered, the ball was thrown to Jack Lester who, instead of just passing back to the Droylsden goalkeeper as is the convention in such circumstances, lobbed Craig Mawson for a goal.

Rival players squared up to one another and stewards had to intervene to prevent a touchline confrontation between the two benches.

However, when the game resumed, Chesterfield, seemingly embarrassed by Lester's goal, allowed Droylsden's Steve Halford to run through unopposed from the kick-off to make it 2-2, which is how the match ended.

And the next attempt at settling the tie also failed to produce a winner when a match at Droylsden's ground was abandoned when, with Chesterfield leading 2-0 and under 20 minutes left to play, the floodlights went out.

Wed 31 December, 2008
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Juan Veron wins South American footballer of the year award

Argentinian footballer Juan Sebastian Veron has been elected South American footballer of the year for the first time in his career, following his performance at Estudiantes La Plata in 2008.

The 33-year-old joined Estudiantes from Internazionale in 2006 and his experience soon allowed him to take a leading role at the club.

Estudiantes finished third in the Clausura earlier this year, and came in seventh in the Aperture which finished this month. More importantly, the side reached the final of the Copa Sudamericana but eventually lost to Brazilian outfit Internacional Porto Alegre.

Veron becomes the eighth Argentinian to win the award. His predecessors were Mario Kempes, Diego Armando Maradona (2), Oscar Ruggeri, Martin Palermo, Javier Saviola, Juan Roman Riquelme and Carlos Tevez (3).

The midfielder succeeds Paraguayan Salvador Cabañas, whose performance America de Mexico earned him the prestigious award in 2007.

Wed 31 December, 2008
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Carlos Bianchi set for Boca return

Former Boca Juniors manager Carlos Bianchi is expected to return to La Bombonera to become the side’s technical director, the club announced on Wednesday.

Chairman Jorge Amor Ameal, who also took a moment to announce that manager Carlos Ischia extended his contract with one year, confirmed this on Boca’s official website.

Argentinian sides usually don’t appoint a technical director, but Boca plan to break with that tradition: “Our idea is to internationalize our image. And Bianchi is a well known man abroad. He is our ambassador,” Ameal said.

Bianchi is one of Boca’s most successful managers, having won four Argentinian league titles, three Copa Libertadores and two Club World Cups with the blue-yellow side.

He also won three domestic titles and a Copa Libertadores with Velez Sarsfield.

Wed 31 December, 2008
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Beckham about to make Milan debut

English midfielder David Beckham is set to make his debut with Serie A giants AC Milan, who are scheduled to face Hamburger SV in a friendly on January 6th.

Milan boss revealed this to sportspaper Gazzetta dello Sport: “He will get a spot somewhere in midfield,” he said.

After failing to reach the MLS play-offs with Los Angeles Galaxy, Beckham agreed to be loaned out to Milan in order to retain fitness. Officially, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star should return to the United States next summer, but rumours mention a permanent stay in Italy.

The 33-year-old joined LA Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007, and has scored five goals in 30 appearance.

Wed 31 December, 2008
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Higuain out with tonsillitis

Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain is sidelined for seven to ten days as result of tonsillitis, an illness that affects the throat.

When the Argentinian returned to Spain’s capital city this week, he was already suffering from the illness. The player wasn’t able to take part in the year’s final training session.

Higuain is certainly out for Madrid’s Primera Division clash with Villarreal on Sunday, and might not be fit in time either for the match with Mallorca on January 11th.

The 21-year-old has been in good form this season, scoring 11 goals in 14 Liga appearances.

Wed 31 December, 2008
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Ivan Helguera receives offer from LA Galaxy

Los Angeles may have disappointed this season, but the American side are already looking to improve for the 2009 MLS season. Their main target at the moment is Spaniard Ivan Helguara.

Helguera recently terminated his contract with Valencia, and has received several offers since. Uptil now, the player hasn’t responded to any of them though.

The 33-year-old defender spent most of his career at Real Madrid, whom he helped to win Champions League titles in 2000 and 2002. Last year, he went to try his luck in Valencia but the player was only given one appearance by manager Unai Emery this season.

Helguera’s agents claim that they have received more offers in recent days, including a bid from a Premiership side.

If Helguera is to join LA Galaxy, he would meet again with former Real Madrid teammate David Beckham who is currently on loan at AC Milan but should return in 2009.

Wed 31 December, 2008
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Droylsden’s appeal fails

It was confirmed earlier today by the Football Association (FA) that Droylsden’s appeal to remain in the FA Cup had failed.

This means that Chesterfield will take their place in the FA Cup third round match against Ipswich.

Droylsden, who play in the Conference North, two divisions below the Football League, beat League Two side Chesterfield 2-1 in a replay last week.

The controversy arose when defender Sean Newton, who had scored both goals for Droylsden, played despite having been suspended.

Wed 31 December, 2008
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Players pick Lass over Huntelaar

While Real Madrid fans prefer Klaas Jan Huntelaar to be registered for the Champions League knock-out phase, players disagree and would pick Lassana Diarra if the choice was up to them.

Spanish sportspaper Marca reports that Madrid’s players prefer to have more defensive stability, something which ‘Lass’ could provide. Players as Raul, Higuain and Robben would have to take care of things up front.

Madrid have to pick one of these two players to appear in the knock-out phase of the Champions League. Both have already represented their previous teams in the UEFA Cup this season, and UEFA regulations allow only one such player to be registered for the second half of the tournament.

Which of the two is to be registered, fully depends on the choice of manager Juande Ramos.

Real Madrid resume their European campaign against Liverpool at Bernabeu on February 25th, with the return leg to take place at Anfield two weeks later.

Wed 31 December, 2008
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Saint Mirren sign Steven Thomson

Scottish Premier League side Saint Mirren have signed midfielder Steven Thomson, who currently plays for English League One outfit Brighton & Hove Albion.

“He will bring a wee bit more competitiveness into the midfield area as well as bringing a fresh face into the squad,” said manager Gus MacPherson.

The 30-year-old, born in Glasgow, began his career at the age of 16 at Crystal Palace, where he would spend the next nine years. After two years at Petersborough, he eventually ended up at Falkirk in 2005. Last year, the player returned to England to join Brighton.

Thomson is expected to remain at Saint Mirren until the summer of 2011.

Wed 31 December, 2008
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